Paint Scraping Like Gerhard Richter For Kids


One of my favourite artist is celebrating his birthday this week; Gerhard Richter who is turning 85 this year. He’s a well known German painter and possibly the ‘the greatest living painter’. He explores and pushes paint in a variety of ways with focus on the process; his paintings explained by curator Mark Godfrey for Tate

“Their surfaces are animated by lines where the squeegee has paused, by brushstrokes, other scrapings, and areas where the skin of oil paint has dried and rippled. Some passages of paint evoke the surface of a gently running river, or a veil of mist over autumnal yellows.”

With that in mind, this was another reason to be inspired by Richter’s work, it is important to not just look at the outcome of a piece for the aesthetic purpose but for the process itself.  This allows the artist or child to create freely and push the limitations of the materials itself thus helping creative thinking.

To set the scene so to say, we watched some videos of Richter at work, which my preschooler got excited about and was eager to start her own paint scraping piece.



  • PaperPaint  ~ I used Crayola washable paint as this could get messy.
  • Paint rollers
  • Old credit or gift card
  • Cardboard ~ Cut the cardboard to create different shaped edges to drag and scrape paint
  • Paper or plastic plates ~ for your paint
  • Newspaper *Optional
  • Masking tape *Optional

This project could get messy depending on the age of the children at work. Use newspaper over the workspace and then tape down the art work on the paper.


Pour the paints onto the paper plates as the rollers need a wider space to pick up the paint.  Mix different colours, today we went with the primary colours of red, blue and yellow.

Start dipping the rollers into paint and make marks across the paper in any  direction.


Don’t worry too much if the colours get mixed, this is the joy of the process.  Gerhard Richter himself said,

“When I paint an abstract picture (the problem is very much the same in other cases), I neither know in advance what it is meant to look like nor, during the painting process, what I am aiming at and what to do about getting there.“


Use the cardboard to drag and scrape paint, you can continue to add more paint with the rollers.  There is no set rule.


Here’s another piece that I tried my hand at.


This process is fun and really gets you thinking. What a great idea for a birthday party to have the kids create some Gerhard Richter inspired art as an activity, contact ArtyPants for more details.

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